For the legendary actor Alan Alda, it was the same curiosity that drew him into acting that propelled him into the world of science.

“I remember as a kid always trying to figure out why things were the way they were. How they got to be the way that they were,” says Alda. He was fascinated with the world around him, from examining a flame at the end of a candle to contemplating human behavior. “Why did adults say the things they said and why they behave the way they did?”

Then, an opportunity arose that mixed a little bit of each world. Alda was asked to host the television show Scientific American Frontiers. A show that discussed new technologies and discoveries in science and medicine.

“I said ‘yes’ on the condition I could actually interview the scientists and not just read a narration,” says Alda, “because I really wanted to hear from the scientists about their work. And I wanted to understand it better. That kind of lead to what I do now which is to help scientists communicate better.”

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Hieu Quang Pham, the Korea Section Student Award winner for 2018.

Nomination Deadline: September 30, 2018

ECS recognizes outstanding technical achievements in electrochemistry and solid-state science and technology through its Honors & Awards Program. There are many deserving members of the Korea Section among us and this is an opportunity to highlight their contributions.

We are currently accepting nominations for the following award:

Korea Section Student Award was established in 2005 to recognize academic accomplishments in any area of science or engineering in which electrochemical and/or solid state science and technology is the central consideration. The award is intended to encourage students who are pursuing a PhD at a Korean university to initiate or continue careers in the field.

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An online platform that had once offered a voice to scientists – to join in on debates and discussions of other scientists and inquisitive minds – may now be a thing of the past. Social news website Reddit hosts r/science, one of the world’s largest online science communities, which ran a popular Ask Me Anything Q&A (AMA) series that picked the brains of academics about topics like climate change, physics, and astronomy has come to an end. This was all due to a change in Reddit’s algorithm, changing how posts were ranked and making it nearly impossible to compete with the charm of cute animal GIF’s in the competition of upvotes.

The demise of the Ask Me Anything Q&A series is considered a major setback for the science community. The forum grew to nearly 19 million users, now left with no other platform that offers quite the same reach, accessibility, and engagement.

With flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, and the rest of the anti-science brigade making their views heard in almost every corner of the internet, it’s a difficult time for those who value insightful discussion of peer-reviewed science online,” says Alastair McCloskey, a digital content coordinator in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield. Read his full article here.

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SemiconductorEngineers have created a high-frequency electronic chip potentially capable of transmitting tens of gigabits of data per second, much faster than the fastest internet available today.

Omeed Momeni, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of California, Davis, and doctoral student Hossein Jalili designed the chip using a phased array antenna system. Phased array systems funnel the energy from multiple sources into a single beam that can be narrowly steered and directed to a specific location.

“Phased arrays are pretty difficult to create, especially at higher frequencies,” Momeni says. “We are the first to achieve this much bandwidth at this frequency.”

The chip prototyped by Momeni and Jalili successfully operates at 370 GHz with 52 GHz of bandwidth. For comparison, FM radio waves broadcast between 87.5 and 108 MHz; 4G and LTE cellular networks generally function between 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz with up to 20 MHz of bandwidth.

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Silly putty isn’t just for kids anymore.

Researchers in Ireland combined the classic kid’s toy with a special form of carbon to create a new material that has potential applications in medical devices such as heart monitors.


About 70 years ago, scientists came up with the recipe for silly putty as a substitute for rubber. The resulting formula yielded strange properties, but not many applications. However, by taking the strange silly putty formula and mixing it with graphene, the new mixture showed remarkable electrical, bouncy, liquid-like properties.

Editors' ChoiceThree new Editors’ Choice articles have been published recently in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) and ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS).

An Editors’ Choice article is a special designation applied by the Journals’ Editorial Board to any article type. Editors’ Choice articles are transformative and represent a substantial advance or discovery, either experimental or theoretical. The work must show a new direction, a new concept, a new way of doing something, a new interpretation, or a new field, and not merely preliminary data.

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Join Additional Primary Divisions!

Attention prospective and current ECS members! Did you know? As of this year, you can belong to more than one primary division!

Divisions

Each ECS division corresponds to a topical interest area. ECS has seven electrochemistry divisions and six solid state science and technology divisions:

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Invisible wood

Image: University of Maryland

Wood has been a key building block for much of history infrastructure. While we may have witnessed wood fade out in lieu of other materials in more recent times, it’s about to make a comeback in an unexpected way.

Past ECS member Liangbing Hu of the University of Maryland, College Park is developing a stronger, transparent wood that can be used in place of less environmentally friendly materials such as plastic.

But this development’s novelty really lies in the transparency factor. So many structures built today rely on the use of glass and steel. By replacing those building materials with the transparent wood, the world of design could be revolutionized while heating costs and fuel consumption rates are simultaneously reduced.

This from CNN:

Hu describes the process of creating clear wood in two steps: First, the lignin — an organic substance found in vascular plants — is chemically removed. This is the same step used in manufacturing pulp for paper. The lignin is responsible for the “yellow-ish” color of wood. The second step is to inject the channels, or veins of the wood by filling it with an epoxy — which can be thought of as strengthening agent, Hu says.

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Discussing the importance of cyber security

Cyber Security via IStockWhile cyberwar may sound like the plot of the latest sci-fi blockbuster, the realities of the phenomena are much more palpable. Few understand that better than Yaw Obeng, ECS member and senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In light of the 2014 hack on Sony Pictures, the suspected Russian hacking of U.S. Democratic National Committee emails, and the data breach of the U.S. government, in which the personal information of 21.5 million government employees was leaked, the scientists at NIST – specifically researchers like Obeng – have been shifting their attention to cyber security.

“Right now, everything that can be attached to the internet has been attached to the internet – right down to toothbrushes,” says Obeng, ECS Dielectric Science and Technology Division chair. “The question then becomes: How do we make sure that these devices are secure so they cannot be hijacked or compromised?”

(MORE: Read Obeng’s paper on this topic published in ECS Transactions.)

The answer to that question, however, may not be as simple as some would hope.

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As the landscape of energy harvesting evolves, so do the devices that store that energy. According to researchers from Toyohashi University, all-solid-state lithium rechargeable batteries are at the top of the list of promising future energy storage technologies due to their high energy density, safety, and extreme cycle stability.

ECS member Yoji Sakurai and a team from the university’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering recently published a paper detailing their development to advance the all-solid-state batteries, which pushes past barriers related to electrochemical performance.

(MORE: Read Sakurai’s previously published paper in ECS Electrochemistry Letters.)

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